From Paper to Plate: Recipe Sketches from Alinea and Le Bernardin

THE SKETCH Roasted Maitake Mushrooms with Chestnuts, Roasted Vegetables and Autumnal Aromas
Achatz: "During a brainstorming meeting we started asking ourselves the touchstones of the upcoming fall season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and hayrides were common answers, followed by the inevitable question: 'what does a hayride smell like?' For me, the combination of hay, apples, cinnamon, freshly-cut pumpkins and dried leaves, evoke vivid memories. As kids, we used ride in the back of a tractor pulled wagon and eat cinnamon doughnuts with apple cider in the crisp autumn air. In order to recreate the hayride, we had to carefully balance each of the elements. Too much cinnamon or apple yield a result like apple pie. Too much hay or leaf material overpowers the pumpkin and apple aromas." Back to From Paper to Plate: Recipe Sketches from Alinea and Le Bernardin »Courtesy of Alinea

When we asked Oriol Balaguer of Estudi di Xocolatta i Pastisseria for a contribution to the SAVEUR 100, he picked something straightforward: pencil and paper. "Before I start to create, I always sketch my inspiration," he told us, and he's not the only one: chefs Grant Achatz (of Chicago's Alinea) and Michael Laiskonis (pastry chef at Le Bernardin in New York City) also begin their creations at the drawing board. They've shared with us the drawings and doodles that gave rise to some of their most famous dishes — proving that the artistry and attention to detail that's evident in a plated dish has actually been with it since its inception. With these sketches — as well as photos of the final products — we get a glimpse into the creative process of two of the world's most innovative chefs.